Do the soldiers in All Quiet on the Western Front suspect that Germany is losing the war?  

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rrteacher | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Whether Germany is winning or losing is not really the central concern of the soldiers. Remarque shows throughout the book that the soldiers are worried about survival and making the best of a frightful situation than winning the larger conflict. This is one of the major differences between them and the men back home. Yet there are many indications that the soldiers do not think they are winning. In one relevant aside, Kat observes that the Germans are losing the war "because we salute too well," meaning that there is too much of a focus on drill and formality in the army. Later, viewing the "anemic" boys brought in as reinforcements, Kat says that "Germany ought to be empty soon." As 1918 begins, Paul alludes to the inevitability of defeat, saying that for every "hungry, wretched German soldier comes five of the enemy, fresh and fit." The Germans have not been beaten, he says, "we are simply crushed and driven back by overwhelming superior forces." So there is certainly a sense that the Germans will not win, but for these young men, a focus on victory or defeat is alien to them. The idea of winning suggests that there was a logic or a point to the conflict, and this makes little sense to boys like Paul.